Brice Blaine Durbin, 92, of Topeka, KS, passed away January 4, 2020 at Brewster Place, Topeka, KS. He was born August 26, 1927, Rolla, MO, son of the late Brice and Verna Durbin.
He is survived by his wife Lois Cathey Durbin. He was predeceased by his first wife of 38 years, Helen Heleker Durbin, and they have three surviving sons, Dr. Robert (Jan), Brice H, Topeka and Bradley (Cindy), Emporia. Other survivors include step-children, Kirsten Graf (Pat), Chicago, IL and Greg Cathey, Springfield, MO; grandchildren Dr. Derek Durbin (Jenny), Brice A. Durbin (Sadie), Brett Durbin (Jaelle), Jon Durbin, Katie Norwood (Douglas), Megan Walker (Matthew); step-grandchildren, Sophia and Finnian Graf, Riley and Taylor Cathey; and 15 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his sister Betty Grimwood, Burns, KS and is survived by his brother Dr. John Durbin (Jane), Austin, TX.
He was a member of St. John's Lutheran Church, Topeka and Grace Lutheran Church, Naples, FL. He grew up and graduated from high school in Burns, KS where his father was his basketball coach and principal-superintendent.
He attended Kansas and Wichita Universities for two years before service one year in the U.S. Army during World War II. Following Army discharge, he graduated from Central Missouri State University and earned his Master's Degree from the University of Missouri.
He was a teacher and head basketball coach for seven years at Marysville, Arkansas City and Hutchinson, KS High Schools and was assistant basketball coach to Ralph Miller at Wichita University. In 1956 he was selected by the Wichita Eagle as the Outstanding High School Basketball Coach of the Year. He then served as Assistant and Executive Director of the Kansas State High School Activities Association for 20 years and as Executive Director of the National Federation of State High Schools Associations for 16 years before retiring in 1993.
His philosophy of high school education he learned from his father was that high school activities are the other half of education and all students shouldn't be required to participate in music, debate or athletics, but they should have the opportunity to do so.
He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Central Missouri State University; U.S. President's Council of Physical Fitness and Sports Distinguished Service Award; inducted into five sports halls of fame: State of Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, National High School Sports Hall of Fame, Kansas College Officials Hall of Fame, Kansas Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame and Kansas State High School Activities Association Hall of Fame.
During his career he was an officer and served on the following national sports organization boards: United States Olympic Board of Directors, Executive Committee and Foundation Board; Manager of 1968 U.S. Men's Olympic Track and Field Team; U.S. Amateur Basketball Association when they won Six Olympic and World Gold Medals; Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame; U.S. Track and Field Federation; National Basketball Rules Committee; Publisher of the annual national high school sports rule books; author of the national "Three Men Basketball Officiating Mechanics" and "Football Ten-Yard Overtime Procedures" for high school and now modified for college games. He threw out the first pitch at the 1980, 5th World Series Baseball Game between Kansas City Royals and Philadelphia Phillies.
He was a football official for the Missouri Valley Conference and Supervisor of Basketball Officials for the Big 8 Athletic Conference for six years. The Kansas Sports Hall of Fame calls him "the father of girls high school sports in Kansas", for convincing Kansas schools to start competitive sports for girls in the 1960's. He was a member of the National Association of Basketball Coaches for 67 years, the Topeka Country Club and the Topeka Cosmopolitan Civic Club. Brice's hobbies were crafting furniture in his workshop, playing golf and ballroom dancing with his wife Lois.
The family will receive friends during a visitation from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 9, 2020 at Penwell-Gabel Cremations, Funerals, and Receptions, 1321 SW 10th Ave, Topeka, KS.
A Funeral Ceremony will be at 10:00 a.m., Friday, January 10, 2020 at the St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 901 SW Fillmore, Topeka. Interment will follow at Mount Hope Cemetery, in Topeka.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Trash Mountain Project, 4110 NW 62nd St., Suite B, Topeka, KS 66618 or to St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 901 SW Fillmore Topeka, KS 66606.
To leave a message for Brice's family online, please click the "Share Memories" button above.